Proteas coach Russell Domingo has all but confirmed that South Africa will play two specialist spinners against the West Indies on Friday.
South Africa are preparing for the first of two must-win games, the first against the West Indies at Nagpur on Friday.
While playing two specialist spinners seems the logic choice for the conditions, the decision over who must the injured JP Duminy in the XI is less straightforward.
‘It’s definitely a wicket where you need to play two frontline spinners,’ Domingo said. ‘History suggests that and that is what the nature of the wicket looks like. Spin is going to be important here and we are fortunate that we have two quality spinners in Imran Tahir and Aaron Phangiso, I’m confident that both of them will get game time on Friday.
‘It’s a tricky situation. If you want to play Phangiso, it might have to be at the expense of a seamer.’
South Africa’s first two matches were played at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai where the batsmen flourished but the bowlers perished. The conditions in Nagpur offer the complete opposite to that.
‘The most important aspect will be assessing the conditions quickly. We have played on two great wickets in Mumbai, our batters were happy with that but I think our bowlers will be happy to play on this wicket where runs will be harder to come by.
‘We have some quality batsmen in our line-up who have played in these conditions before and have had success under these conditions. Whatever wicket they do prepare will be the same for both sides so it’s no major issue for us,’ Domingo said.
On Duminy’s possible replacement Domingo said: ‘He is a big player for us. When you come to a venue like this [Nagpur], we know the ball is going to spin, JP offers us that option as a guy who can bowl four overs for us. He is one of our main batters and is in good form, not having him is a big blow and does upset the balance of the side.
‘There is nothing we can do about it. We have a good squad of players and whoever steps in knows that everyone supports and backs him 100%. Anyone of these 15 players in the squad are good enough to come in and do the job for us.’